In a blog post I read earlier by Eric Barker on 'Barking Up The Wrong Tree' I was interested in what Oliver Burkeman had to say about how to set goals that work. Guardian journalist Burkeman was interviewed by Barker following the publication of his book, The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking.
This is what he said about setting goals that work.
"For a long time there’s been an absolutely unquestioned dogma that having clear and ambitious goals is always a fantastic thing. I don’t think that that is absolutely wrong in all cases but there’s this huge shadow side to goal setting.
There’s a lot of evidence now that shows they can actually be demotivating. Goals can tempt people to cut ethical corners and to cheat when they are too rigidly focused on those goals.
The best thing to do is to set process goals rather than outcome goals. Stop telling yourself you’re going to write the great American novel, and tell yourself you’re going to do 500 words a day. Step back from focusing on the outcome and focus on process."
This approach certainly worked for me in gaining my Taekwondo Black Belt. I didn't start training 5 and a half years ago with a goal of getting my black belt. I started because my son wanted to do it and so I did too for a couple of reasons. One was to enjoy an activity with him and the other was that I would need to leave to pick him up just after I would get home from dropping him off! I just followed the training regime the instructors gave me. I now have my black belt 2nd Dan and am traing for my 3rd.
What are the lessons of this approach for networking?
Many people focus on what they are hoping to sell and end up actually putting people off. If you are networking to get help, support and business then it's safe to assume the people you meet want the same. The process that leads to that outcome is the building of trusted relationships and making friends in business. Focus on that process by getting to really know the people in your networks through one to one interactions and giving them help, support and introductions to other business contacts and opportunities. The wonderful thing is that as you do that for others then others do it for you.